Zalmay Khalilzad: Afghanistan Should Not Become a Springboard for International Terrorism
The United States Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation, Zalmay Khalilzad, after meeting with the President of Uzbekistan, spoke about the current challenges of peaceful settlement in Afghanistan.
Shavkat Mirziyoyev received the American guest on 10 December. The meeting was also attended by Lisa Curtis, Deputy Assistant to the President of the United States, Senior Director for South and Central Asia of the US National Security Council.
The head of our state stressed that the agreements reached during his visit to the US in May this year marked the dawn of a new era of strategic partnership. Contacts at various levels have intensified: productive political dialogue and inter-parliamentary interaction have been established, joint projects are spearheaded in the trade, economic and investment fields, cultural and humanitarian exchanges are gaining momentum.
At the talks in Tashkent, Shavkat Mirziyoyev and Zalmay Khalilzad paid special attention to the issues of political settlement in Afghanistan and the enhancement of Uzbek-American cooperation in this matter in order to secure peace, stability and sustainable development in the region. They stressed the need for closer coordination of efforts of the entire international community in launching a peace negotiation process with the key and decisive role of the Afghans themselves (Afghan-owned, Afghan-led talks), providing practical assistance to the country in promoting economic assistance projects.
Zalmay Khalilzad and Lisa Curtis, expressing deep gratitude to Shavkat Mirziyoyev for the warm welcome, conveyed sincere greetings of the US President Donald Trump.
Following the meeting, the Special Representative stressed that his mission is to support peaceful settlement of the Afghan crisis, promote the integration of Afghanistan into Central Asia, and foil the country from becoming a springboard for international terrorism.
The international conference on Afghanistan “Peace process, security cooperation and regional connectivity” organized in Tashkent earlier this year was, according to Zalmay Khalilzad, an outstanding initiative in this direction. As a result, peace establishment in Afghanistan, where the war has been going on for more than forty years, is actively discussed today all over the world.
Afghanistan’s government says that the crisis cannot be addressed by military means, Khalilzad pointed out, and it is essential to reach a political agreement. This view is shared by the Taliban. The stance has found support in the international community, including the United States.
The initiative put forward by Uzbekistan is very important for Afghanistan, the American official said. To achieve peace between the government of Afghanistan and the Taliban, joint actions are needed not only from the United States and Uzbekistan, but from other nations, as well, the countries of the region in particular.